Island Laboratory: Tristan da Cunha and the Development of Modern Science, 1873-1983

Fall 2016 Grant Recipient

Graduate Students

Christopher Maternowski (History) This dissertation traces the genesis and evolution of the idea that the Tristan da Cunha island group held the secrets to ameliorating poverty, disease, and environmental degradation on a global scale. A geographically discrete and distant space, the Tristan da Cunha island group afforded doctors and scientists an unprecedented opportunity to study the sociological, medical, and ecological consequences of poverty and isolation on humans and their environments. The research undertaken in the Tristan da Cunha island group between 1873 and 1983 yielded important insights on subjects as varied as sustainable colonial development practices, biological gigantism, gingival health, and tropical epidemiology.